Paizo Update from Jeff Alvarez

Monday, September 20, 2021

My public statement on Wednesday was a fundamental expression of Paizo’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, values that I share both personally and professionally. It was an opening statement—not the final word on the topic by any means.

Words are important.

But I also know that actions are even more important.

As a result, I want to share with you a number of actions that address some of the concerns that have been brought to our attention over the last week.

The welfare and safety of our employees is paramount. No employee will ever be fired for whistleblowing or advocating for employee safety and wellbeing, and we have never fired an employee for doing so.

Following our return from Gen Con, the Executive Team will schedule individual meetings with our managers to give them a chance to share concerns directly. In the coming weeks, Paizo will issue an independently managed employee engagement survey to provide all employees with an anonymous means to provide candid feedback. The information provided through this process is aimed at addressing employee concerns and driving change to create a more positive workplace.

We take all claims of harassment seriously. Our CEO Lisa Stevens released a statement in 2019 that underscores Paizo’s stance on this matter, and it applies today as well. You can read that here: https://paizo.com/community/guidelines.

We held staff-wide in person anti-harassment training in 2018 and initiated annual mandatory online training earlier in 2021.

We are currently finalizing a job description to fill a vacant full-time HR position. You’ll see this posted in the next few business days, and we’ll be looking for a candidate with expertise in diversity, equity, and inclusion. It is important to all of us that this professional can help us to maintain Paizo’s shared commitment to our values in recruitment, hiring, and daily operations.

In the meantime, we are encouraging our employees to make use of the free independent human resources hotline Paizo initiated in 2018, where they can report grievances of any kind in complete confidentiality.

Paizo makes decisions about employee convention attendance based on the business and community needs of the show, irrespective of gender or gender identity. However, it is time that Paizo evolves from the longtime practice of employees sharing rooms during convention and business travel. As such, we have enacted a one-employee-per-room policy that will be our standard moving forward. Employees can request to share a room if they so choose.

We are extending Paizo’s existing work-from-home timeline through at least the end of the year. Employees that want to work from the office can continue to do so but will need to abide by the company’s existing vaccination and mask policies. We will continue to follow CDC guidelines and keep our employees as safe as possible during the pandemic by offering work-from-home and a safe office space for those who prefer that option.

Over the last several years, we have invested heavily in Project Management to help the company get a better sense of workload in the Creative Department, implementing company-wide project management software and increasing the size of the project management team. This work has already resulted in increased production schedule lead times, and Paizo will continue to leverage this valuable resource to provide better work/life balances for our employees.

In the same period, the creation of additional management positions within the Creative Department has also helped give staff better access to managers, and to empower those managers to better gauge deadlines and workloads. As with our Project Management initiatives, this is an ongoing process, but it is already bearing fruit and improving not just Paizo’s products, but the lives of the brilliant creatives who make them possible.

To clear up some confusion that has worked its way into the conversation, freelancer relations remains the purview of the Creative Department. Paizo freelancers who appreciate their strong relationship with our developers, editors, and art team can be assured that we have made no changes on this front.

Finally, based on feedback from the staff, we changed professional cleaning services in 2017, and the offices have been cleaned and vacuumed on a regular basis since then.

These aren’t the only things we are doing. We are building strategies to address the challenges facing the company and will strive to be more transparent about our plans as we build stronger lines of communication with everyone at Paizo. We are committed to listening. We are committed to continuing to improve based on the feedback of our teams. There will be more messages, and more concrete actions, to come.

--Jeff

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Ashbourne wrote:


I went to high school in the 80s in a small conservative town, back then just dying your hair a funny color was enough to get you beat up. One girl I know was beaten and pinned to the ground by a group while someone took a knife and cut her hair off, that's just one example. Based on that I have always believed in not judging people by the way they look, or who they chose to be (bolded for emphasis0. Somehow I remain optimistic change for the better can happen, I think the formation of the UPW union is one of those changes

Just want to call this out and please correct me if my understanding is incorrect!.

My limited understanding (even as I'm trying to figure myself out) is that gender isn't really a 'choice' like some people make it out to be in most cases.

Several examples have been noted here and in other threads.

If one is treated as not their gender and forced to comply to what other people consider them as because 'well, that's a choice you can make, it's not YOU', that's pretty horrific.


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Has Jeff really still not issued a follow-up statement? It's been forty days.

Silver Crusade

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From what I can tell, not only has Jeff not issued a follow-up, he's basically disappeared from the forums, even negating his weekly check-ins on the Ninja Miniatures debacle thread.


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Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Has Jeff really still not issued a follow-up statement? It's been forty days.

Things died down so dramatically on the forums after the union was recognised. There probably doesnt seem much pressure to do so any more.

Dark Archive

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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
Ashbourne wrote:


I went to high school in the 80s in a small conservative town, back then just dying your hair a funny color was enough to get you beat up. One girl I know was beaten and pinned to the ground by a group while someone took a knife and cut her hair off, that's just one example. Based on that I have always believed in not judging people by the way they look, or who they chose to be (bolded for emphasis0. Somehow I remain optimistic change for the better can happen, I think the formation of the UPW union is one of those changes

Just want to call this out and please correct me if my understanding is incorrect!.

My limited understanding (even as I'm trying to figure myself out) is that gender isn't really a 'choice' like some people make it out to be in most cases.

Several examples have been noted here and in other threads.

If one is treated as not their gender and forced to comply to what other people consider them as because 'well, that's a choice you can make, it's not YOU', that's pretty horrific.

Sorry if my statement wasn't clear the intent was meant to cover ANYONE.

I have transgender friends who have chosen not to have gender affirmation surgery. I also have transgender friends in second life who have had gender affirmation surgery, but in Second Life still, freely go back and forth or in between, so my view on choice may be skewed a bit.


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Ashbourne wrote:
I went to high school in the 80s in a small conservative town, back then just dying your hair a funny color was enough to get you beat up. One girl I know was beaten and pinned to the ground by a group while someone took a knife and cut her hair off, that's just one example. Based on that I have always believed in not judging people by the way they look, or who they chose to be. Somehow I remain optimistic change for the better can happen, I think the formation of the UPW union is one of those changes

Those places are rough. Glad you survived that environment.


9 people marked this as a favorite.

Where are ya Jeff?

Accountability in your position requires some visibility Jeff.

Accepting the Union isn't closure Jeff, it's just the beginning.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Ashbourne wrote:
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
Ashbourne wrote:


I went to high school in the 80s in a small conservative town, back then just dying your hair a funny color was enough to get you beat up. One girl I know was beaten and pinned to the ground by a group while someone took a knife and cut her hair off, that's just one example. Based on that I have always believed in not judging people by the way they look, or who they chose to be (bolded for emphasis0. Somehow I remain optimistic change for the better can happen, I think the formation of the UPW union is one of those changes

Just want to call this out and please correct me if my understanding is incorrect!.

My limited understanding (even as I'm trying to figure myself out) is that gender isn't really a 'choice' like some people make it out to be in most cases.

Several examples have been noted here and in other threads.

If one is treated as not their gender and forced to comply to what other people consider them as because 'well, that's a choice you can make, it's not YOU', that's pretty horrific.

Sorry if my statement wasn't clear the intent was meant to cover ANYONE.

I have transgender friends who have chosen not to have gender affirmation surgery. I also have transgender friends in second life who have had gender affirmation surgery, but in Second Life still, freely go back and forth or in between, so my view on choice may be skewed a bit.

Whether you get gender affirmation surgery or not has no bearing on whether you are a trans woman or not - I am a trans woman - I might never be able to afford the surgery, but that doesn't make me less of a woman, or make being a woman a matter of choice. The surgery is just a thing I could get to make me feel more comfortable in my body - it doesn't "make me a woman" because I am already a woman regardless of my body.

Gender affirmation surgery is a choice (often a choice between the surgery and being miserable, but still a choice), being trans is not.


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Also worth noting: plenty of trans folks (like me!) are very happy in their unmodified bodies, and are not interested in pursuing physical transition.

Dark Archive

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Opsylum wrote:
Ashbourne wrote:
I went to high school in the 80s in a small conservative town, back then just dying your hair a funny color was enough to get you beat up. One girl I know was beaten and pinned to the ground by a group while someone took a knife and cut her hair off, that's just one example. Based on that I have always believed in not judging people by the way they look, or who they chose to be. Somehow I remain optimistic change for the better can happen, I think the formation of the UPW union is one of those changes
Those places are rough. Glad you survived that environment.

"What doesn't kill us makes us stranger" Aeon Flux.

Sovereign Court

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The Inheritor wrote:

Where are ya Jeff?

Accountability in your position requires some visibility Jeff.

Accepting the Union isn't closure Jeff, it's just the beginning.

Your tone is coming off really insulting and bordering on intimidation. I'm not sure if you're aware, but this is how I'm reading it as I'm casually scrolling through the forums...

There are better ways to ask questions, if you care about getting real answers to them that is.

Silver Crusade

12 people marked this as a favorite.

I take it you haven't been keeping up on the going ons these past two months?

We were told there would be followups, and we have concerns about the transphobia and doxxing, and Jeff has all but ghosted the forums. Apologies that that doesn't endear everyone to be your level of politeness.

Calling for accountability from the president of the company is in no way intimidation.


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It's very saddening. I haven't got much else to say. I didn't expect much, but I'd hoped for something more than this. I can't see myself coming back to Paizo if we're really going to be treated so disposably here.

I continue to hope for better than what we've seen.


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Hey Jeff, maybe some video where you explain that you're building a Brighter, Better Future and that all of our concerns are addressed because you won't let anything bad happen?

A bit like that video Mark Zuckerberg put out. Tonya could play the role of Nick Clegg.


And the Moderation could be played by the Metaverse, but Squid Game’d.

Silver Crusade

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Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
The Inheritor wrote:

Where are ya Jeff?

Accountability in your position requires some visibility Jeff.

Accepting the Union isn't closure Jeff, it's just the beginning.

Your tone is coming off really insulting and bordering on intimidation. I'm not sure if you're aware, but this is how I'm reading it as I'm casually scrolling through the forums...

There are better ways to ask questions, if you care about getting real answers to them that is.

What power do you believe a single customer has to "intimidate" the President of a company?


3 people marked this as a favorite.

It us far easier to doxx customers and issue non apology apologies than to be held accountable.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Giving benefit of doubt for Sudden Union Interrupt, but if we don't hear anything in the next week or so, that's pretty informative...


8 people marked this as a favorite.
Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
The Inheritor wrote:

Where are ya Jeff?

Accountability in your position requires some visibility Jeff.

Accepting the Union isn't closure Jeff, it's just the beginning.

Your tone is coming off really insulting and bordering on intimidation. I'm not sure if you're aware, but this is how I'm reading it as I'm casually scrolling through the forums...

There are better ways to ask questions, if you care about getting real answers to them that is.

If asking for accountability is intimidating.. maybe he should be afraid.


7 people marked this as a favorite.

43 days and counting


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For what it's worth, I see the misuse of customer data (I am reluctant to call it "doxing" without context because "doxing" covers a pretty wide range of abusive behavior) as a serious issue, but I am much more frustrated that no follow-up post has been issued addressing the transphobic policies enabled by Paizo leadership. We were told repeatedly to be patient, that there was more on the way. Now there's just silence.

I'm incredibly burned out arguing about these issues at this point, and the longer the silence stretches on, the more it feels like our burnout is the point--like they're waiting for this to become yet another indignity for trans people to become numb to. And whether or not that's the intention, it's a consequence Paizo leadership will benefit from if they allow it to take place, so we really need an update here.

Is there still a post on the way, as was promised, or is the "sure, you can have a union" post supposed to serve as a replacement for any kind of follow-up on the issues we've all been discussing? Because Paizo leadership didn't create the union, the employees did. I'm not crediting them for the work of their employees. We do that too often in this country.


At this point management us failing to communicate with those who keep them in business. I am not surprised given Jeff's tone deafness.


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It was definitely doxxing. Jeff admitted in the thread he did it to 'show he was serious' about the issue. Read: Intimidation Check but rolled a 1.

The person he did it too not only felt targetted by the doxxing but it took almost 2 weeks to get the doxxing removed with ahalf hearted apology.

As for the lack of communication I see it as one of 2 things, neither of them great.

Either their legal told them to stop engaging or they are deciding on their own that to not engage is a good idea.

I know we weren't given a timeline for when a follow up would happen, but the radio silence really speaks volumes. I stopped posting in here constantly for the same reasons KC lists. I am tired of arguing, but that doesn't mean I am not still watching. The union is a good move in the right direction, but that isn't reflective of Paizo or their Leadership. The workers had the votes lined up, there was no way to stop the Union from happening, just delay and raise angst.

Accepting the inevitable is not progress.

Do better Paizo.


Do better, Paizo.

Silver Crusade

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Interesting that they can announce two promotions to the executive team, but not take the time to address this after over a month of silence.


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Yoshua wrote:

It was definitely doxxing. Jeff admitted in the thread he did it to 'show he was serious' about the issue. Read: Intimidation Check but rolled a 1.

The person he did it too not only felt targetted by the doxxing but it took almost 2 weeks to get the doxxing removed with ahalf hearted apology.

As for the lack of communication I see it as one of 2 things, neither of them great.

Either their legal told them to stop engaging or they are deciding on their own that to not engage is a good idea.

I know we weren't given a timeline for when a follow up would happen, but the radio silence really speaks volumes. I stopped posting in here constantly for the same reasons KC lists. I am tired of arguing, but that doesn't mean I am not still watching. The union is a good move in the right direction, but that isn't reflective of Paizo or their Leadership. The workers had the votes lined up, there was no way to stop the Union from happening, just delay and raise angst.

Accepting the inevitable is not progress.

Do better Paizo.

It is worth noting that he "only" call the person by their first name. While a childish power move, it lacks the "call to action" part generally implied with the word.

I believe he was just that stupid.

Humbly,
Yawar

Silver Crusade

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"Only" using the first name is irrelevant, he used personal information he only had access to as a employee against the poster.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
YawarFiesta wrote:
Yoshua wrote:

It was definitely doxxing. Jeff admitted in the thread he did it to 'show he was serious' about the issue. Read: Intimidation Check but rolled a 1.

The person he did it too not only felt targetted by the doxxing but it took almost 2 weeks to get the doxxing removed with ahalf hearted apology.

As for the lack of communication I see it as one of 2 things, neither of them great.

Either their legal told them to stop engaging or they are deciding on their own that to not engage is a good idea.

I know we weren't given a timeline for when a follow up would happen, but the radio silence really speaks volumes. I stopped posting in here constantly for the same reasons KC lists. I am tired of arguing, but that doesn't mean I am not still watching. The union is a good move in the right direction, but that isn't reflective of Paizo or their Leadership. The workers had the votes lined up, there was no way to stop the Union from happening, just delay and raise angst.

Accepting the inevitable is not progress.

Do better Paizo.

It is worth noting that he "only" call the person by their first name. While a childish power move, it lacks the "call to action" part generally implied with the word.

I believe he was just that stupid.

Humbly,
Yawar

Using the first name is still very threatening, and carries the implied threat of releasing the full name.

People have been successfully doxxed via just a first name before as well.


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There is world of difference between "I wouldn't be so cocky, Jhon" and "I wouldn't be so cocky, Jhon Doe from 123 Evergreen st. Springfield CA 12345, phone number 999 888 7777, and email address jdoe@gmail.com. It would be shame if someone contacted your employer at management@abcde.com. Actions have consequences!".

Both would be breaches of privacy, the latter would be closer to what most people associate with doxxing. Both would bad, the latter would be worse.

Humbly,
Yawar


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Tender Tendrils wrote:
YawarFiesta wrote:

It is worth noting that he "only" call the person by their first name. While a childish power move, it lacks the "call to action" part generally implied with the word.

I believe he was just that stupid.

Humbly,
Yawar

Using the first name is still very threatening, and carries the implied threat of releasing the full name.

People have been successfully doxxed via just a first name before as well.

Again stupid, childish, and bad; but, to give an extreme example, is like conflating accidental manslaughter with an assassination or murder 3.

Humbly,
Yawar


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Regardless of the level of doxxing involved, he did reveal the name, got called out for it by multiple people, was asked to redact it - and it was a couple of weeks before he finally bent to pressure and redacted the name, alongside statements that make it clear he still didn't think he'd done anything wrong.

In my view, and when combined with radio silence on the transphobia complaints plus the wording he's chosen for the statements he's made so far, that appears to put him squarely in the camp of "leaders" who never apologize or admit to being at personal fault for anything, which is a hallmark of Toxic Bosses.

I've been hoping I was wrong about that, that these were isolated incidents which failed to tell the whole story of who he is as a leader...but today will be 45 days and counting, with neither an official update nor even a statement that the alleged past transphobic practices - and how to prevent anything of the sort from happening in the future - are specifically being addressed in their supposed ongoing conversations. We don't even know if those conversations are still ongoing, or if leadership has put them on hold pending conversations with the union. (I hope that's not the case. It would be an incredible abrogation of responsibility to say, we as leaders aren't going to do anything to improve our company culture unless the union workers can force us into it.)

The lack of communication here is Not Good.

Do better, Paizo!


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Cintra Bristol wrote:

Regardless of the level of doxxing involved, he did reveal the name, got called out for it by multiple people, was asked to redact it - and it was a couple of weeks before he finally bent to pressure and redacted the name, alongside statements that make it clear he still didn't think he'd done anything wrong.

In my view, and when combined with radio silence on the transphobia complaints plus the wording he's chosen for the statements he's made so far, that appears to put him squarely in the camp of "leaders" who never apologize or admit to being at personal fault for anything, which is a hallmark of Toxic Bosses.

I've been hoping I was wrong about that, that these were isolated incidents which failed to tell the whole story of who he is as a leader...but today will be 45 days and counting, with neither an official update nor even a statement that the alleged past transphobic practices - and how to prevent anything of the sort from happening in the future - are specifically being addressed in their supposed ongoing conversations. We don't even know if those conversations are still ongoing, or if leadership has put them on hold pending conversations with the union. (I hope that's not the case. It would be an incredible abrogation of responsibility to say, we as leaders aren't going to do anything to improve our company culture unless the union workers can force us into it.)

The lack of communication here is Not Good.

Do better, Paizo!

Jim Butler, in the other big thread, indicated that internal discussions are ongoing, and he referred to it as "incidents" and not "allegations", so hopefully that's positive indications of stuff happening? I sure hope so anyway.

Silver Crusade

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YawarFiesta wrote:
Yoshua wrote:

It was definitely doxxing. Jeff admitted in the thread he did it to 'show he was serious' about the issue. Read: Intimidation Check but rolled a 1.

The person he did it too not only felt targetted by the doxxing but it took almost 2 weeks to get the doxxing removed with ahalf hearted apology.

As for the lack of communication I see it as one of 2 things, neither of them great.

Either their legal told them to stop engaging or they are deciding on their own that to not engage is a good idea.

I know we weren't given a timeline for when a follow up would happen, but the radio silence really speaks volumes. I stopped posting in here constantly for the same reasons KC lists. I am tired of arguing, but that doesn't mean I am not still watching. The union is a good move in the right direction, but that isn't reflective of Paizo or their Leadership. The workers had the votes lined up, there was no way to stop the Union from happening, just delay and raise angst.

Accepting the inevitable is not progress.

Do better Paizo.

It is worth noting that he "only" call the person by their first name. While a childish power move, it lacks the "call to action" part generally implied with the word.

I believe he was just that stupid.

Humbly,
Yawar

That is still information that he had thanks to his position in the company that he wielded as a weapon because he was mad that someone was being disrespectful of him.

Silver Crusade

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"it was only 80% doxxing not 110% doxxing" is still doxing.

He had no right to give out that person's real name.


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YawarFiesta wrote:

Again stupid, childish, and bad; but, to give an extreme example, is like conflating accidental manslaughter with an assassination or murder 3.

Humbly,
Yawar

One of the really weird paradigms that seems to be going around is that there are no levels. There is just one giant pile of bad without any sort of sorting. I really don't get it.

Silver Crusade

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Nobody has said there are no levels, however we do think that it's unacceptable for an executive to post privileged information in public, and that it is a violation of their privacy policy.


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The question is whether said executive abused their position of power to access confidential information for the purpose of intimidating someone who disagreed with them.

Said executive did.

You don't get points for the bad things you didn't do but could have, because not doing those bad things is the baseline level of socially acceptable behavior.

You don't walk into a murder trial and say "Yes I murdered him, but give me a lighter sentence because I could have murdered that bystander over there but chose not to".


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Tender Tendrils wrote:

You don't walk into a murder trial and say "Yes I murdered him, but give me a lighter sentence because I could have murdered that bystander over there but chose not to".

But you do walk into a murder trial and say "I did it but it wasn't premeditated" because premeditated murder has a higher sentence. Or "I did it completely on accident" or "I was only trying to break a leg..."

Even there there are in fact degrees of wrong. Mitigation is not exoneration.

Quote:
The question is whether said executive abused their position of power to access confidential information

It's possible/likely that they did that. It's also possible that the posters name accidentally wound up on their Alias list because of a weird thing the website does when you register A (your first?) Alias/PFS character. Although when you run the place taking advantage of a tech glitch you should be stamping out isn't all that much different...

Quote:
for the purpose of intimidating someone who disagreed with them.

That did seem to be the intent. Even trying to take it as trying to remind someone they were talking to another human being didn't get very far after the second post.


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YawarFiesta wrote:
Yoshua wrote:

It was definitely doxxing. Jeff admitted in the thread he did it to 'show he was serious' about the issue. Read: Intimidation Check but rolled a 1.

The person he did it too not only felt targetted by the doxxing but it took almost 2 weeks to get the doxxing removed with ahalf hearted apology.

As for the lack of communication I see it as one of 2 things, neither of them great.

Either their legal told them to stop engaging or they are deciding on their own that to not engage is a good idea.

I know we weren't given a timeline for when a follow up would happen, but the radio silence really speaks volumes. I stopped posting in here constantly for the same reasons KC lists. I am tired of arguing, but that doesn't mean I am not still watching. The union is a good move in the right direction, but that isn't reflective of Paizo or their Leadership. The workers had the votes lined up, there was no way to stop the Union from happening, just delay and raise angst.

Accepting the inevitable is not progress.

Do better Paizo.

It is worth noting that he "only" call the person by their first name. While a childish power move, it lacks the "call to action" part generally implied with the word.

I believe he was just that stupid.

Humbly,
Yawar

With the first name within 10 minutes I was able to get his full name and find him on 3 social media sites.

Humbly,
Yoshua

Silver Crusade

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Occam's razor tells me it's a lot more likely that Jeff looked at details he had access too as a company executive and not that he looked at a person's aliases and made an assumption that one of them was the person's name.

He also left this information up for two weeks after being asked to take it down, what's your excuse for that?


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I wouldn't be surprised if their prolonged silence is a ploy to tire people out.

Silver Crusade

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"It's okay I didn't steal and eat your burger I only ate half of it"

Pedantism is just making you look squirmy for no real gain or purpose.

The president of the company doxxed someone, what are you trying to achieve by "Well kinda but not really cause technically since uhhh"ing the situation?

You're not providing unknown facts that completely change the story, he used the poster's name without permission, that's a fact. Enough said. To argue otherwise is arguing with reality.


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So, let me get this straight. Previously, I've been told that calling a call to action that lacks any sort of due process a "witch trial" or "lynch mob", even though technically correct, is wrong, because the long past history of harm associated with said terms.

However, calling that stupid, childish and reckless power play a "doxxing", even though it is a word loaded with a history of harming innocents, disproportionate retribution and internet vigilantism and implies a call to action, because it is technically correct.

I am starting to think that certain people in this forum would rather win instead of having a honest discussion.

Humbly,
Yawar


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Confessor to Penitent: But I only revealed a little bit of your confession...

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